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Violence against Women in South Africa

and India
We live in a world where we are suffering from a lot
of uprising issues. One of the major issues that we face
around the world is violence especially violence against
woman. Women have always been treated as second class
citizens where they were beaten, objectified and looked
down at. South Africa and India are considered one of the
major countries that mistreat woman.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recognizes that
VAW inhibits women's ability to enjoy rights and freedoms
on the basis of equality with men. This shadow report
centers violence against women as a violation of human
rights, including the right to women's autonomy. In South
Africa, violence against women contravenes numerous
constitutionally guaranteed rights, most significantly, the
right to equality, which provides for equality before the
law and the right to equal benefit and protection of the
law. The reality and threat of infringements impinge on
women's rights to inherent dignity, the right to have that
dignity respected and protected, the right to life, the right
to freedom and security of the person and the right to
bodily and psychological integrity. While South Africa has
one of the most progressive and inclusive Constitutions in
the world, with a Bill of Rights proclaimed to be the
cornerstone of democracy, the incidence of violence
against women continues to escalate to alarming
proportions. Protection against such abuse is limited at
best, as perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. South
African Police Services (SAPS) statistics for reported rape
were 69117 in 2004/5, 68076 in 2005/6, 65201 in 2006/7,
63818 in 2007/8 and 71500 in 2008/9
The Medical Research Council (MRC) estimated in
2002 that 88% of rape cases go unreported13 due to
embarrassment, self-blame, fear of not being believed,
trauma, and fear of secondary victimization. Findings from
research conducted on prevalence support the MRC
suggestion that actual levels of violence are much higher
than the national SAPS statistics:
More than 40% of women interviewed in a Cape Town
study had experienced one sexual assault14
45% of women aged 14 24 described their first sexual
experience to have been one where they had been
coerced - persuaded, tricked, forced [or raped] 15
27.6% of men interviewed in a MRC study16 admitted
having raped a woman, while 14.3% had raped a current
or ex-girlfriend or wife. Nearly half of the men who said
they had raped, had raped more than one woman or girl
The levels of domestic violence reported in various
research studies are also cause for concern: 31% of
pregnant women surveyed in KwaZulu Natal reported
domestic violence17
To conclude, the link between violence against
women has been clearly established, this report notes that
programmes and services for women have been
inadequate and inaccessible and that there has been little
progress thus far in the translation of the National
Strategic Plan and its commitments into practice. Finally,
the report draws attention to the growing conservatism
and fundamentalisms, including religious, traditional and
state - with routine attacks on female sexuality and the
infringements of women's fundamental rights and
freedoms in the public domain. This shadow report
concludes with specific recommendations to the
government of South Africa ranging from the effective
implementation of existing protective legislation to the
ratification and implementation of regional and
international human rights treaties. The report urges the
South African government to take all appropriate and
available measures to ensure the protection of women
from violence.
Moving to India which is no better than south Africa ,
In India, rape, sexual assault, physical and verbal abuse
become especially pervasive given their strongly roots in
Indias history and societal norms. The issue of violence
against women grows increasingly urgent, statistics
illustrating that violence against women is on the rise.
Between the years of 2001 and 2011, the number of
crimes against women has risen an alarming 59%, the
number one crime being rape Though critics question
whether figures reflect an upsurge in crime or an upsurge
in crime reporting, evidence of institutional and cultural
gender injustice remains unarguable. the December 2012
gang rape case in Delhi, India.
It is important to make note that gender hierarchy is
deeply linked with hierarchies of economic class and
ethnicity. The subjugation of women is thoroughly
enhanced by conditions of being low caste or class, and
associated living conditions, including but not limited to
poor education, a lack of access to health, and inhibited
social mobility (Miller 1993: 370). In 98% of rape cases in
2012, the offenders were known to the victim. This being
so, the cost to the victim of reporting a rape is
extremely high due to their lack of economic
independence, and fear of becoming socially ostracized
from their family or society (John 2013) n attempt to
contextualize violence against women economically,
media has blamed the cultural understanding that men,
and men only, must function as financial providers for the
family. Women do not have economic independence, nor
do they have the freedom to pursue employment in many
situations. They are thus disempowered and dependent on
their families, or husbands in marriage. Consequently,
parents increasingly prefer sons over daughters. Further,
men who are unable to provide for their family are more
likely to relieve stress through domestic violence. In a
survey by ICRW and UNFPA, 40% of men who reported
facing economic stress admitted to perpetrating violence,
contrasting the 27% of men who had not faced this stress
(Chartoff 2015). This trend speaks volumes on the
inversely related relationship between wealth and age, as
lower class men are more likely to feel financial burden,
and thus more likely to become aggressive against their
female family members. The effect of an education results
in a more equalized preference between sons and
daughters. Statistics show that 46% of men with no
education reported having a high preference for sons. The
percentage of those who expressed this preference
decreased by 8% for those who received secondary
education, and 19% for those who had received some
form of higher education (Chartoff 2015).

Finally, underlying this analysis, the paper studies the


major tension between institutional attempts to address
violence against women, and the resistance to progress
brought upon by cultural and historical norms
Amendments failed to include any formative
recommendations from the Verma Committee report,
instead continuing to leave Livne 31 women unprotected
from discrimination and violence. The shortsightedness of
the Verma report itself is caught in the aforementioned
tension, and to some degree, works to reinforce it.
Examination of the 2012 rape case discloses why this case
in particular developed a mass outcry, and moving
forward, how long must stories of such horrific suffering
continue before significant legislative and societal change
takes place. At this end, the paper offers deeper
comprehension of how government inadequacies and the
normalization of gender injustice fuel the violence
epidemic in India. In highlighting the foundation and
societal development of violence, this research calls
attention to the very sectors that demand future reform.

Works Cited
Burke, Jason. Indian Government Vows Zero Tolerance Over
Violence Against Women.
The Guardian. 09 Jun. 2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2015. Chartoff, Hannah.
India: How to Tackle Violence Against Women at Its Root. Newsweek. 02
Feb. 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.

Steward, Julian. Comments on the Statement of Human Rights.


American Anthropologist 50.2 (1948): 351-352. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
Verma, J.S., Leila Seth, and Gopal Subramanium. "Report of the
Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law." New Delhi. 23 Jan. 2013.
Web. 29 Jan. 2015.